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Mary Thompson


We have received emails, letters, photographs and documents from many who are connected to Coalhurst and the mine disaster.  The May 10th Facebook post below was written by Mary Thompson who has also provided the images you see on the right.  You can access a page with information Mary provided about each image by clicking on our favorite image of four Coalhurst kids below!

                                  Photograph Page with Descriptions

My family lived in Coalhurst from the early 1900's until the mine closed down. This time in history is very important to my family. My family, on both sides, were coal miners.  Prior to coming to Alberta, my mother's uncle , at the young age of 14 years, worked in mine in Stellarton, Nova Scotia and my father's family had many generations working in the mines in Gorebridge Scotland, for the colleries owned by the Duke of Buccleuch.

My grandfather James McInnis was in Coalhurst from the beginning at the sinking of the mine shaft, and later, after the company houses were built, he was joined by his mother "Old Mrs.McInnis" and his 7 siblings who moved from Pictou County, Nova Scotia to Coalhurst.

My grandmother Lucy Raiff Hatch, one of the first nurses to graduate from the Galt Hospital, was matron of the Coalhurst mine hospital prior to her marriage, and it was there, looking out the window, she first saw the man who she would marry, as he walked past the hospital on the way to mine.

My mother was born in Coalhurst (and so were her brothers). My mother's family, my great uncles, great aunts and great grandmother, and my mother's cousins all lived in Coalhurst.

The other half of my family, my father's parents, moved to Coalhurst in the 1930's. For a time nine members of my family worked in the mine at Coalhurst and at the time of the explosion there were five members of my family (my two grandfathers, one great grandfather and two great uncles) working for the mine.

After the explosion the family had to move away to find work, and my great grandfather, John Dunlop returned to Scotland. I am pouring over these documents you have posted and learning so much. My grandfather testified (but never spoke of it after the inquest) and I am looking at the pictures on your website, and reading the names of so many people that I grew up hearing about, and seeing names that I have seen written in old letters and papers, or captions on old photos that my grandparents saved. I hope to be able to share some of my family's stories and photos with anyone that may be interested and I would love to learn more from others that have an interest in the this coal mining town. Thank you for sharing this information, and preserving this early history.

Mary Thompson · Vancouver, British Columbia

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